By: Atkinson, Anthony B. (Nuffield College, Oxford)
Backus, Peter G. (University of Barcelona), Micklewright, John (Institute of Education, University of London)
Charitable bequests are a major source of income for charities but surprisingly little is known about them. The aim of this paper is to propose a multi-stage framework for analysing the bequest decision and to examine the evidence for Great Britain provided by new data on estates. The novelty of the framework is that it distinguishes between the different steps that lead to a charitable bequest. Our new data for Britain have the advantage of covering the whole population, in contrast to much of the US literature based on the small fraction of the population covered by estate tax returns. We focus on the relationship with wealth at death, on the form of the bequest, and on the different causes to which people bequeath.
Keywords: charitable donations, bequests, wealth, death, estate tax, NGOs